Vegan Variations: Part 1: Eating vegan in the broadest sense
Vegan Variations is a series of posts addressing a few of the most popular versions of eating vegan.
Eating vegan in the broadest sense.
In a traditional sense, vegan is a way of life. It is embraced by people who don't eat animals or their products, such as eggs, dairy, and honey. And, as a way of life, vegans may also avoid using any animal products, such as leather or household or self care products made at the expense of animals. Also as a lifestyle, veganism is embraced by those who want to reduce the effects of the animal industry on the environment.
For the purposes of this series of posts, I will talk about veganism in reference to health.
I have found that becoming a vegan is a learn-as-you-go process. When I started eating vegan, I just sort of stumbled from one vegetable or fruit to the next. I certainly had no idea what I was doing, but I figured as long as I didn't eat meat per se and left fish, chicken, eggs, and dairy alone I was doing great.
When shopping, I soon found that almost all the foods I used to love have some animal products in them—even vegetarian products did not pass the vegan test. So, I started eating little piles of fruit and vegetables.
I got by on those little piles until I found the vegan processed food. At first, I erroneously thought it was all healthy because it was labeled Vegan. To my delight there were fake meats, fake cheese, fake mayo, and even fake butter. In addition, there are vegan crackers, vegan chips, vegan cookies, non-dairy ice cream, and on and on. Veganism is trending. So, food scientists are working hard to fill the grocery shelves with substitutes for vegans. I was thrilled to find these “life savers” and loaded up on them.
When I started gaining weight, I also started reading the nutrition labels on those processed products more carefully and realized that most of them weren't much better for me than their counterparts in the Standard American Diet.
So, in its broadest sense, this variation of the vegan diet could be an imitation of the current Standard American Diet. That's the reason for this series of posts: if you're looking to improve your health or lose weight, it'd be good to plan your vegan diet carefully so you don't include too much vegan junk food and undermine your efforts. We'll talk more about how to go about that in upcoming posts.